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Estate and Elder Law

New Rules Can Save Money on Alabama Probate Expenses

The Alabama Supreme Court recently approved a set of rules to facilitate "limited scope" representation.  Limited scope representation allows lawyers to assist clients with a specific part of a legal matter even if the client does not need (or cannot afford) representation in the rest of the matter.

For example, an attorney could provide limited representation by drafting the probate pleadings for an Alabama probate case.  The client could otherwise deal with the court clerk and represent themselves in the litigation.

The decision follows a similar 2010 opinion by the counsel for the Alabama state bar.  In that opinion, the Office of General Counsel approved "unbundled" legal representation, which allowed attorneys to perform discrete tasks on behalf of the client as an alternative to full legal representation.

This sort of arrangement is becoming popular across the nation and has been positively received.  Over 41 states now allow limited representation in some form.

In the probate context, unbundled legal services allow you to control the cost of the Alabama probate proceeding by choosing what services the Alabama probate attorney will provide.  Unbundled probate services are a good fit for:

  • Clients who cannot afford to hire a lawyer for the more traditional "full representation" model.
  • Clients who feel capable of learning the process themselves and just need limited assistance with form preparation and related issues.

Note:  Unbundled probate services are not a good choice if you believe that the probate proceeding will involve disputes between family members.  You should only choose unbundled probate services if you believe that everyone will cooperate and sign the documents necessary to move the estate through the Alabama probate process.

Our firm has been offering unbundled probate services in Alabama since 2010.  Download our Alabama probate guide more information.

View more from Jeramie Fortenberry

About Jeramie Fortenberry

I am an attorney practicing trust and estate law in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. I offer free telephonic consultations to clients with questions about probate and estate planning. Get yours today.

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